Photo Epic: Monarch Crest Enduro

Oct 7, 2015
by Seth Beckton  



Early morning starts usually means mother nature will be providing a show during breakfast here in the high country of Colorado. The Monarch Crest Enduro, put on by Chocolate Bunny Productions, hosted by Absolute bike and River Front restaurant in Salida, Colorado worked incredibly hard to live up to the standard of “Epic” given to the area by the world famous Monarch Crest Tail. Most people who ride the Crest choose the popular route following the Continental Divide Trail for several hours south to the Silver Creek Junction, descend Silver Creek and finish with 14 miles on the Rainbow Trail. This first ever Enduro in the area ran off several mountain drainages all accessed through trails, and roads that take you to Colorado high alpine. With 5 stages over 3 days this Enduro will put you in your place, and tested the best of everyone brave enough to have entered. Day 1 had 2 stages with over 18 miles of racing and transfer. Day 2 was 1 stage that was right about 18 miles with transfer and race. Day 3 was a tough one, at over 30 mils, with 2 longer transfer stages followed by 2 incredibly long chunder fests that seemingly lasted forever at pace. All of the combined ended up being approximately 9,280 of descending and 6,396 of climbing. Just enough to wear out anyone for the upcoming Monday.

Following routine is advised if you want to be a top dog in this monster of a race.
The following routine is advised if you want to be a top dog in this monster of a race.
Personality style rock N roll and a love for mountain biking is very much accepted in Salida. Our shuttle driver Dave has it all.
Personality, style, rock N roll, and a love for mountain biking is very much accepted in Salida. Our shuttle driver Dave has it all.

Tucked away in a future mountain biking meca larger than it already is lays Absolute Bikes one of Colorado s favorite shops.
Tucked away in this little mountain biking Mecca lays Absolute Bikes one of Colorado's favorite shops.
Time to ride
Time to ride!


STAGE ONE: STARVATION CREEK




From the top of the first stage Starvation Creek has incredible views and a few hidden speed check moto whoops to keep you on your toes. Rider Botsy Philips handles them like a seasoned vet. Other riders didn t fair so well.
  From the top of the first stage Starvation Creek has incredible views and a few hidden speed check moto whoops to keep you on your toes. Rider Botsy Philips handles them like a seasoned vet. Other riders didn't fair so well.

After a long fast decent through rocks shadows and pine trees you reach the first of a few scree field crossings. Rider Jonathan Yaseen mashes on.
  After a long fast descent through rocks, shadows and pine trees you reach the first of a few scree field crossings. Rider Jonathan Yaseen mashes on.

In the beginning of the race the first few creek crossing where not a problem. Starvation Creek.. Wonder where it gets its name.
  In the beginning of the race the first few creek crossing where not a problem. Starvation Creek. Wonder where it gets its name.

At the end of stage one you spilled on to a scene displaying a pile of people with broken bike parts smashed fingers and dirt samples on clothing. Fast loose technical and rocky was the general consensus.
  At the end of stage one riders spilled onto a display scene of people with broken bike parts, smashed fingers and dirt samples on clothing. Fast, loose, technical and rocky was the general consensus on the stage.

The first transfer stage was a brut but a scenic 8 miles at that. So much of one that you almost felt sorry for those who didn t live at altitude.
  The first transfer stage was a brute, but a scenic 8 miles at that. So much of one that you almost felt sorry for those who didn't live at altitude.

With Aspen leaves resting on pine trees and a golden forest floor one would think people never venture to these parts.
  With Aspen leaves resting on pine trees and a golden forest floor one would think people never venture to these parts. Fall on the Crest is something not to miss.

When almost to the top of the transfer you are rewarded with views for miles. Rider Nate Hills and Brian Haffner make the final 2.5 mile push.
  The transfer climb reward: Views for miles. Nate Hills and Brian Haffner make the final 2.5-mile push.


STAGE TWO: SILVER CREEK




Rider Alex Petitdemange drove 10 hours and talked a few friends into coming with him for this race. One knows little bounds when chasing premium trails and an opportunity to let R rip un-interrupted.
  Rider Alex Petitdemange drove 10 hours and talked a few friends into coming with him for this race. One knows little bounds when chasing premium trails and an opportunity to let 'er rip un-interrupted.

Flynn George twist the throttle around a loose corner and into a nasty section of rocks.
  Flynn George twists the throttle around a loose corner and into a nasty section of rocks.

Fresh out of the open high alpine and straight into the dark. Mike Hall doesn t hold back and blast by while blowing the medics mind with speed.
  Fresh out of the open high alpine and straight into the dark. Mike Hall doesn't hold back and blasts by while blowing the medics mind with speed.

Nate Hills takes a fast tricky corner like a boss stays pinned to take 2nd on the Silver Creek stage 2.
  Nate Hills takes a fast tricky corner like a boss and stays pinned to take 2nd on the Silver Creek stage 2.

Getting loose and sliding in sideways was common in this corner.
  Getting loose and sliding in sideways was common in this corner.

Long and fast was the mode of operation for stage 2. Scott Countryman out of Flagstaff AZ peddles on.
  Long and fast was the mode of operation for stage 2. Scott Countryman out of Flagstaff AZ peddles on.

Sarha Rawely keeps her eye on the prize while blissfully blasting her way to the finish.
  Sahra Rawley keeps her eye on the prize while blissfully blasting her way to the finish.

Race curator Keith Darner styles everyone out with some much needed bacon during the long transfer stage.
  Race curator Keith Darner styles everyone out with some much-needed bacon during the long transfer stage.

The push to the highest peak you see in this image is the starting line to stage 3 Canyon Creek. Can you spot the tiny humans on top
  The push to the highest peak you see in this image is the starting line to stage 3 Canyon Creek. Can you spot the tiny humans on top?

At times you wonder if it would ever end but then you look around and see how incredible the land is and realize that your init for the adventure.
  At times you might wonder if it would ever end, but then you look around and see how incredible the land is and realize that you're in it for the adventure.

With a half moon on the horizon riders approached the summit. It was hard to set your mind on if you should wear an extra layer due to having hard nipples or keep it off due to wet armpits. Quote from Nate Hills
  With a half moon on the horizon riders approached the summit. It was hard to set your mind on if you should wear an extra layer due to having hard nipples or keep it off due to wet armpits. Quote from Nate Hills

From the tops of mountains you can see more mountains. Some of these mountains you can ride your bike down. The views from the top of Canyon Creek could be considered next level.
  From the tops of mountains, more mountains, some of which you can ride your bike down. The views from the top of Canyon Creek could be considered next level.

Mike West or better know as OldManWest pushes the final bit to the top of stage 3 Canyon Creek.
  Mike West or better know as OldManWest pushes the final bit to the top of stage 3 Canyon Creek.



STAGE THREE: CANYON CREEK




Starting at12 500 this trail is wicked steep has wild exposure and forever long. You have crazy black and white light to ride through with massive rocks and sneaky river crossings that occasionally will have huge ledges with roots or rocks on the other side. Most riders hit this trail blind. Rider Botsy Phillips.
  Starting at 12,500 ft this trail is wicked steep, is wildly exposed, and is forever long. The natural light is crazy black and white, there's massive rocks and sneaky river crossings that sometimes have huge ledges with roots or rocks on the other side. Most riders hit this trail blind. Rider Botsy Phillips.

Going full gas through cleared out scree field patches is gnarly. Dylan Stucki has no hesitation.
  Going full gas through cleared out scree field patches is gnarly. Dylan Stucki has no hesitation.

Down around and into the un-know. The trails follows the contour of the mountain and heads into the pines.
  Down around and into the unknown. The trails follows the contour of the mountain and heads into the pines.

With such a long decent passing was expected.
  With such a long decent passing was expected.

After getting to a semi normal elevation there became many creek crossings. This one in-particular was very refreshing and welcome during such a long stage. Possibly the longest Enduro stage in the world currently. Pro woman 3rd place winner gets wet.
  After getting down to a semi-normal elevation there became many creek crossings. This one in particular was very refreshing and welcome during such a long stage. Pro woman 3rd place winner gets wet.

At this point of the stage riders where asking medics how much further...
  At this point of the stage riders were asking medics how much further...

Ryan Hammerel lets off the brakes and gets tucked for this fast wide open section.
  Ryan Hammerel lets off the brakes and gets tucked for this fast wide open section.

Seth Smith takes the last few fun corners before the finish line
  Seth Smith takes the last few fun corners before the finish line.

Local flavor.
Local flavor.
Ska brewing hooked up the racing party with awesome beverages over the weekend.
Ska brewing hooked up the racing party with awesome beverages over the weekend.

Don t for get your number bracelet was one of the most popular sayings in the morning.
"Don't forget your number bracelet" was one of the most popular sayings in the morning.
I will take a pint of PinStripe Red Ale.
I will take a pint of PinStripe Red Ale.


STAGE FOUR: GREENS CREEK




Keeping your hands warm with or without gloves was no easy task at the start of stage 4 Greens Creek. Simple forms of riding became challenging such as holding on to your bars and vision.
  Keeping your hands warm with or without gloves was no easy task at the start of stage 4 Greens Creek. Simple forms of riding became challenging such as holding on to your bars and vision.

With snow and rain falling Stephanie Leonard kept her head up and pushed hard to make the finish.
  With snow and rain falling Stephanie Leonard kept her head up and pushed hard to make the finish.

At one point there was no rain and only snow. With goggles glasses and cameras getting foggy the racers pushed on. Not only was it a race against time it was becoming a race against not freezing.
  At one point there was no rain and only snow. With goggles, glasses, and cameras getting foggy the racers pushed on. Not only was it a race against time it was becoming a race against not freezing.

 I cant feel my hands shouts pro woman 2nd place finisher as she passes media.
  "I can't feel my hands" shouts pro woman 2nd place finisher as she passes by.

They look so harmless until you layer them over wet rocks and roots
  They look so harmless until you layer them over wet rocks and roots.

As the clouds burned off and the sun started to peak out of the clouds the day warmed up just in time to start the final stage Fooses Creek.
  As the clouds burned off and the sun started to peak out of the clouds the day warmed up just in time to start the final stage Fooses Creek.

Not a stranger to long hard races or the podium. Megan Rose takes pro woman top honors with impressive times throughout the weekend.
  Not a stranger to long hard races or the podium. Megan Rose takes pro woman top honors with impressive times throughout the weekend.

Even Enduro has time for fun and steez. Dylan Stucki with a manual for the camera.
  Even Enduro has time for fun and steez. Dylan Stucki with a manual for the camera.

Monarch Crest Enduro



STAGE FIVE: FOOSES CREEK




Sunday morning started off chilly moody and with promise of an interesting last day during the Monarch Crest Enduro. With a sunny departure from Absolute Bikes the weather quickly turned once on top of Monarch pass.
  Sunday morning started off chilly, moody and with promise of an interesting last day during the Monarch Crest Enduro. With a sunny departure from Absolute Bikes the weather quickly turned once on top of Monarch pass.

As the clouds burned off and the sun started to peak out of the clouds the day warmed up just in time to start the final stage Fooses Creek.
  As the clouds burned off and the sun started to peak out of the clouds the day warmed up just in time to start the final stage Fooses Creek.

With one minute up from 2nd and 2 minutes up from 3rd Nate Hills was the best mountain biker on the Crest this weekend.
  With one minute up from 2nd and 2 minutes up from 3rd Nate Hills was the best mountain biker on the Crest this weekend.

Going back and forth with Nate Hills for top track times Mike West was pinned and riding all of the courses blind. With a strong performance all weekend West was caught up with a flat tire with only about a mile to go.
  Going back and forth with Nate Hills for top track times Mike West was pinned and riding all of the courses blind. With a strong performance all weekend West was caught up with a flat tire with only about a mile to go.

5th place finisher Flynn George digs in deep to the tacky soil and pushes hard to pick up time working towards the top spot.
  5th place finisher Flynn George digs in deep into the tacky soil and pushes hard to pick up time working towards the top spot.

Peddling hard at the end of the stage was no easy task. Especially after descending over 8 063 ft in the last 3 days.
  Pedaling hard at the end of the stage was no easy task. Especially after descending over 8,063 ft in the last 3 days.

Drivetrain grim
  Drivetrain grime.

Monarch Crest Enduro

A smile of being stoked from the trail or finishing the 5 stage Monarch Crest Enduro either way both impressive.
  A smile of being stoked from the trail or finishing the 5 stage Monarch Crest Enduro either way both impressive.


RESULTS


Amateur Men 19-29 1. Peter Hartwig 2. Nick Wilvert 3. Nick Ellett 4. Jonathan Yaseen5. Mark Hild
  Amateur Men 19-29 1. Peter Hartwig 2. Nick Wilvert 3. Nick Ellett 4. Jonathan Yaseen 5. Mark Hild

Amateur Women 19-29 1. Angie Muskat 2. Stephanie Ward 3. Sienna Martin 4. Jessie DeLong 5. Tara Reddinger-Adams
  Amateur Women 19-29 1. Angie Muskat 2. Stephanie Ward 3. Sienna Martin 4. Jessie DeLong 5. Tara Reddinger-Adams

Amateur Men 30-39 1. Evan Ross2. Kristofer Carlsted 3. Fred Zacherl4. Matt Giaraffa 5. Eric Purcell
  Amateur Men 30-39 1. Evan Ross2. Kristofer Carlsted 3. Fred Zacherl4. Matt Giaraffa 5. Eric Purcell

Amateur Women 40 1. Roxanne Feagan
  Amateur Women 40+ 1. Roxanne Feagan

Amateur Men 40 1.Dee Tidwell 2. Jonathan Fox 3. Greg Deem 4. David Ziegler
  Amateur Men 40+ 1.Dee Tidwell 2. Jonathan Fox 3. Greg Deem 4. David Ziegler

Vet Pro Men 1. Mike Hall2. Zak Brown 3. Mike Day
  Vet Pro Men 1. Mike Hall 2. Zak Brown 3. Mike Day

Pro Women 1. Megan Rose 2.Sarah Rawley 3.Leigh Bowe 4.Stephanie Leonard 5. Jill Behlen
  Pro Women 1. Megan Rose 2.Sarah Rawley 3.Leigh Bowe 4.Stephanie Leonard 5. Jill Behlen

Pro Men 1. Nate Hills2. Michael West 3.Scott Countryman 4. Alex Petitdemange 5. Flynn George
  Pro Men 1. Nate Hills 2. Michael West 3.Scott Countryman 4. Alex Petitdemange 5. Flynn George

Monarch Crest Enduro supported by Absolute Bikes and Rivers Edge Restaurant. Huge thanks for all of the support and putting on one heck of an awesome event.
  Monarch Crest Enduro supported by Absolute Bikes and Rivers Edge Restaurant. Huge thanks for all of the support and putting on one heck of an awesome event.

View full results here.



MENTIONS: @SethBecktonPhoto




22 Comments

  • + 9
 Such a rad venue and group of racers! Nice shots Seth!
  • + 5
 This was EXACTLY what I think Enduro should be. Long, sometimes rough backcountry stages, with duration ranging from 10mins to 30+mins (for top pros!). A small bit of pedalling, but not so much that aerobic fitness/power to weight ratio determines the outcome. Cheers to everyone involved. 15 years of racing mtb's, and this was one my favorite race experiences ever!
  • + 3
 Great shots! I rode, Starvation Creek, Silver Creek and Canyon Creek just the weekend prior to the Enduro. The riding was just epic! At first I didn't realize that I rode what was to be the first three stages of the course. Makes me wish I did the Enduro. Still, all these people would have been much faster than me.... Smile
  • + 1
 The Crest is pretty sweet. Seeing people ride any of this at race pace would be crazy. I remember riding Silver Creek and being terrified to let go of the brakes. Once you do, you just hit warp speed so quickly.
  • + 1
 I've posted video of my ride down Canyon Creek. While I didn't do the Enduro, this was stage 3 the weekend before,,,

www.pinkbike.com/video/425045
  • + 5
 Shuttle driver was me, Scott.... Daves not here man!!!!
  • + 3
 Sorry @scottlink I will buy you a beer next time I am in Salida. Thanks! @freemech
  • + 2
 No worries, and if it's soon, we will ride too!!!! Tons of awesome unknown stuff here
  • + 1
 The Crest is the best trail I've ever rode. The epitome of an epic ride. Kudos to these fellows, as some of the trail is at 12,000'.
  • + 1
 Colorado is such an amazing mountain bike destination. Those views from the top were absolutely spectacular. I would love to ride these trails the next time I'm out there!
  • + 1
 The Crest is totally worth it. Just expect the altitude to put you in your place.
  • + 1
 Awesome coverage, I so want to do this.
  • + 1
 is this race going to happen in 2016?
  • + 1
 Nice Work PB and @SethBecktonPhoto awesome post!
  • + 1
 Have totally been drunk in that restaurant.
  • + 1
 Nice Boots Leigh! And so many Yetis...
  • + 1
 awesome. oh. and awesome too!
  • + 1
 seems nice and high elevation.
  • + 1
 Sweet belly shirt!
  • + 1
 That was awesome
  • + 0
 Yep, enduro must really suck and be a fad.
  • + 2
 Enduro as a name is a Fad. However Enduro as a sport is the true and pure manifestation of mountain biking.

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